What does this sign mean? Too many motorists ignore this and make the mistake of attacking bicycles

This road sign is far too little known to motorists, which increases tensions on the road with cyclists.

What does this sign mean? Too many motorists ignore this and make the mistake of attacking bicycles

This road sign is far too little known to motorists, which increases tensions on the road with cyclists.

Cohabitation on the road between motorists and cyclists does not always go very well. All you have to do is open your eyes and listen carefully every morning in big cities when it's time to go to the office. Names of birds are flying around and obscene gestures are sometimes exchanged between those traveling on two wheels on one side, and those sitting in their cars on the other. The explosion of bicycle travel over the past ten years, encouraged by many municipalities keen to decarbonize their streets, has significantly transformed the urban landscape.

If cycle paths have grown like mushrooms, in order to delimit as much as possible the space dedicated to different users, living together between motorists and cyclists is still not a real success. Often, points of tension occur at intersections and particularly at traffic lights. When motorists stop, some bikes continue on their way, causing incomprehension and even anger among the first ones.

However, it happens that these cyclists are perfectly within their rights to “run” the red light. How so ? And yes, for almost 15 years, November 2010 to be precise, a traffic sign has entered the Highway Code and authorizes non-motorized two-wheelers to pass through red lights. Problem is, too few road users know its meaning.

You have probably already seen this sign if you are used to driving around town. It is triangular in shape with the tip facing downwards. Its background is white, its edge red and a yellow bicycle is drawn inside. That's not all: small arrows, also yellow, indicate one or more directions under the bike. As with many motorists, its meaning may escape you. This sign, which is called M12, indicates to cyclists that they must no longer consider the red light they are facing as a mandatory stop sign but as a give way.

Positioned on the traffic light post, it therefore allows bicycles not to stop at red lights, unlike cars. However, the cyclist must be particularly vigilant before starting because he does not have priority over any vehicles coming from the left, right or opposite. The next time you see a bike not stopping at a red light, check to see if that triangular sign is attached to the pole before you honk your horn. And if this is not the case, then you will be completely within your rights to curse behind the wheel.

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